Vessel, Heatherwick Studio’s meat cone-reminiscent staircase-jumble that towers 150 feet over Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, will reopen to the public this Friday, May 28, after being closed since mid-January. The prolonged closure came after a third person took their own life by jumping from the $150 million interactive sculpture. The two previous deaths occurred in February and December of 2020. All three individuals were under the age of 25. Related Companies, the developer of Hudson Yards, debuted Vessel in March 2019.
The reopening comes with major—and not unexpected—operational changes at the monumental 15-story artwork-slash-Instagram hotspot. While Vessel was previously free to access, Related is now instituting a $10 per person admission fee; the ticketing fee will be waived for children under five and for visitors arrive during the first hour of the day that Vessel is open. And visitors looking to purchase a ticket—proceeds from ticket sales, per Hudson Yards, will go toward “safety enhancements including tripling our staff and security and increased staff training”—will no longer be able to do so alone as there is now also a strict ban on solo visitors in place. All visitors must be accompanied by another person or be part of a larger group to ascend Vessel’s 154 staircases.
Security will also be substantially increased at Vessel although the height of the barriers along the sculpture’s walkways will not be increased, a change pushed by Community Board 4, as part of the suicide-prevention measures. With a price tag of roughly $25 billion, the 28-acre Hudson Yards is one of the most expensive real estate development projects ever completed in the United States.
“Vessel is made extraordinary by the millions of people who visit and experience it with others,” a spokesman for Hudson Yards elaborated in a statement shared with Gothamist. “The team at Vessel is requiring visitors to attend in groups of two or more, implementing enhanced guest engagement and screening procedures to detect high-risk behaviors, tripling the staff and security, including messaging developed in partnership with Born This Way at the entrance to the attraction and on all Vessel tickets, and installing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline signage at the entrance.”
Co-founded by global pop star and activist Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, the Born This Way Foundation was established to support the emotional and mental health of young people with the goal to “make the world kinder and braver.” A link to the foundation now features prominently on the Hudson Yards landing page for Vessel.
“Vessel is made extraordinary by the people who visit, and by experiencing it with others,” reads a section of the landing page. “Each of you matter to us, and to so many others. We have partnered with our friends at Born This Way Foundation to spread the message of the role we each play in building a kinder world.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24/7 at 800-273-8255.